Thursday, March 24, 2011

Freak Out!

I guess I have been a little more anxious about hubby's cancer situation than I realized.

Today was the post-op follow-up, and he is now happily without catheter and pee bag, and feeling more like himself again. It's a clear night, and he's planning to stay up late with his telescopes. Two more weeks at home, and then most likely, he'll go back to work.

He had one of the best surgeons in the prostate business working on him and got excellent care, but for an office visit, you wait a long time past your scheduled appointment time. I knew this, and planned accordingly, and brought Grant's "Europa" sweater with me to work on. The appointment was scheduled for 11:45, and we didn't end up leaving until 2. Not a problem for me; I had my knitting.

It astounds me, how many people go to a doctor's appointment with nothing to do, as if that will somehow guarantee that they are whisked into an exam room instantly upon arrival. So, I got to hear a lot of spoiled brat grouchy people bitching their heads off. Here they are, in Boston, being treated by one of the best urologic surgeons in the business, and all they can do is bitch about how long they are having to wait. And of course, these folks are empty-handed. No books or magazines to read, or enjoyable craft to occupy mind and hands, just a bad attitude and a sense of entitlement: "How dare you keep me waiting???"

I was very, very glad I had my knitting. Gran't sweater kept me company through waiting for Keith's surgery to be over last week, and it kept me company the day after when we were waiting for Keith's release. It has kept me calm for a few precious minutes each day at work, on my breaks and at the end of lunch. And today it kept me content, despite my being surrounded by grumpy people who wanted to do nothing but complain.

There were a couple of bright spots in that waiting time, though. One lady, also a knitter, came over with her sock project and wanted to know about what I was working on, and asked for a couple of pointers on how she might improve her own knitting. It was so refreshing to talk with someone else who knew the "lingo." I.e. when I said I prefer using a long circular needle and the "magic loop" technique for sock knitting, she knew exactly what I meant. I even said "circs" instead of "circular needles" at one point, and did not have to explain myself. She was very sweet, and I hope she and her hubby got good news from the doctor today.

See, sitting there, I forgot that the doctor is a urologic oncologist. Everyone in that waiting room either had cancer, or was being touched by it through a loved one. So, maybe I can understand the grumpy people a little better, based on that. I just wish they could understand how comforting it would be to have something to distract them while they wait.

For some reason, all the nurses kept apologizing to me for the long wait. Maybe because I looked happy with my knitting, and unlikely to bite their heads off? And when one of them had a minute, she came by to feel up the sweater and ask me about it. I was wearing my "Fraternal Twin Europa," which was my first prototype for Grant's sweater and is knitted from the same yarn. I got a lot done, and felt very peaceful until hubby finally came out and said the nurse told him he could not drive home. OK, well, it was 2 o'clock, and I figured traffic wouldn't be too bad, and I could handle it.

First nerve-wracking thing was getting out of the parking garage. The one we use when we go to Mass General is confusing at best, and I loathe driving in it. Then, since hubby loathes my driving, he kept giving useless driving advice, loudly, then got mad when I barked back at him.

Then we got out of the garage and landed in three separate traffic jams on the way out of town, one of which was in one of the tunnels of the Southeast Expressway. Driving in tunnels frightens me at the best of times, so by the time we hit the exit for the Mass Pike, I was swearing like a sailor, and inviting everyone who tried to cut me off to s*ck my d*ck. (Funny notion, that, since I don't have one of those. But I guess imagining I did made me feel more up to the challenge? Who knows?)

But from the time we left the hospital until we were well west of the city, I was literally shaking all over, and couldn't explain why. I've driven in bad traffic before. Why did it rattle me so much this time?

And then it occurred to me that there was a great deal of momentum and energy behind that shaking. I'd been holding this whole cancer thing in since November, trying to be tough and a good sport, and pretending I really wasn't nervous about it, when of course I was.

Hubby got a clean bill of health today, but also the sobering news that it's a good thing he dealt with this as quickly as he did. The cancer turned out to be more aggressive than the doctor originally thought. Luckily, it was all contained, and excising the prostate fixed it. No radiation and/or chemo will be necessary. Life can go pretty much back to normal.

Hubby can drive short distances, so had no problem with driving us home after lunch at a local Mexican place. I rarely ever say I need a drink, but today I did, and when the waiter asked if I wanted a small margarita or a big one, I ordered the big blue one. It did a lot to reduce my tension, but considering its size, the effects didn't last too long. My daughter and I went out and did some grocery shopping, so she could make one of her vegan extravaganzas tomorrow night, and by the time we were through with our side trip to the "Whole Paycheck" market a few towns over, I was completely sober again, and able to drive home. (My daughter had done all the rest of the driving up to that point, and wanted to eat on the way home from the market, so she had her supper while I drove.)

Much as I hate how much extra time and money it takes to go to "Whole Paycheck," it was worth the trip. I just had a sample of the vegan pesto she's making to stuff into the "tofu steaks," and it was fabulous. A little heavier on the garlic than I would be inclined to make, but still very good.

I'm hoping that the sun is finally breaking over the horizon for real, and I can count on having a clear, trouble-free path for at least a little while, though the next headache -- applying for Ma's spot in a local nursing home -- is not going to be a picnic. We don't have a great relationship and never have, really, but I still hate the thought of putting her into one of those places. Perhaps it's wicked of me to say, but I wish she would just quietly pass in her sleep some night soon, and never have to go anywhere near the nursing home.

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